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Oriental tobacco growers want part in FCTC discussions on their future

| September 9, 2014

Representatives of oriental tobacco growers have expressed concern about a report by a working group of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

The report on the FCTC’s articles 17 (provision of support for economically viable alternative activities) and 18 (protection of the environment and the health of persons) is due to be discussed at the FCTC’s Conference of the Parties meeting, COP6, in Moscow on October 13-18.

The grower representatives, from Bulgaria, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Oman, Serbia and Turkey, met in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, on Thursday for an Oriental Tobacco Forum organized by the International Tobacco Growers’ Association. It was the third such forum to have been organized by the association.

The forum noted that the report agreed with the ITGA that:

* ‘Growers must be consulted on changes that will affect them: The draft proposals acknowledge and insist that the involvement of tobacco growers in policy development, decision-making and implementation ‘should be guaranteed’.

* ‘Comprehensive and long term research must be undertaken in order to identify viable alternatives to tobacco before it can be recommended to farmers to move out of tobacco, should the market for tobacco decline due to lower demand.’

However, the forum said it noted with concern that:

* ‘The proposals urge signatories to the FCTC to ensure that subsidies for tobacco growing are ‘discontinued’ and reallocated to alternative livelihood activities. This recommendation will have a detrimental impact on tobacco growers across Europe and beyond, many of whom already face significant economic challenges.

* ‘Recommendations for land reform to speed up the search for alternatives by the growers, which fail to take into account that land reform is the prerogative of sovereign states and not nongovernmental agencies.’

The forum called on the signatories to the FTFC to:

• ‘Immediately set up formal consultation processes with the ITGA and its members, as representatives of tobacco growers.

• ‘Ensure that the views of growers are conveyed to the WHO during the COP6 discussions and all future COP meetings.’

The ITGA reiterated that it and its member organizations were available to share with the WHO the vast experience of and data gathered by ITGA’s members.

Lobbying keeps advert rules in check

| September 9, 2014

Intense lobbying by the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration (STMA) has resulted in the weakening of legislation that otherwise would have introduce a complete tobacco advertising ban in China, according to a story by Li Hui and Ben Blanchard for Reuters, quoting unnamed sources.

The state news agency Xinhua reported on Saturday that some Chinese lawmakers had called for a complete ban on tobacco advertisements during discussions on amendments to the country’s 20-year-old advertisement law.

But instead, the National People’s Congress last week decided only to expand the scope of the country’s tobacco advertising restrictions.

Excluded from the restrictions will be promotional activities such as cigarette product launches and tobacco sponsorships for sporting events and schools.

The new restrictions are expected to take effect by the end of this year, after they have been passed by parliament.

The STMA delivers an estimated 7-10 percent of government revenues in China – Yuan816 billion ($132.87 billion) in 2013.

The full story is at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/05/us-china-smoking-idUSKBN0H001N20140905.

Eight out of 10 US homes ban smoking

| September 9, 2014

Smoking is banned in more than eight out of 10 US homes – almost twice as many as two decades ago, according to an Associated Press story quoting the results of a new government study.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found smoking was forbidden even in nearly half of homes where an adult smoker lived, up from one in 10 households with smokers in the early 1990s.

CDC experts attributed the changes to shrinking smoking rates and altered attitudes.

“People no longer see it as socially acceptable to smoke around non-smokers,” said Brian King, a CDC expert on smoking issues.

The adult smoking rate fell from 25 percent in 1993 to 19 percent in 2011.

The AP story is at: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/study-10-us-homes-forbid-smoking-25248602

The study is at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6335a1.htm?s_cid=mm6335a1_w

Zeller to speak at tobacco outlet meeting

| September 9, 2014

Mitch Zeller, the director of the US Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products, has accepted an invitation to speak at the NATO (National Association of Tobacco Outlets) show next year.

The show is due to be held on April 22-23 at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Zeller’s appearance, NATO said, would provide an opportunity for show attendees to hear directly from the person at the FDA who oversees the regulation of cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco products, and who is overseeing the extension of regulations to cigars, pipe tobacco, electronic cigarettes, and hookah tobacco.

WHO advice potentially damaging

| September 8, 2014

A World Health Organization-commissioned review of electronic cigarettes contains errors, misinterpretations and misrepresentations that could lead to policymakers missing the potential health benefits of these products, according to a story by Kate Kelland, quoting tobacco addiction experts.

The background paper on electronic cigarettes acted as a blueprint for a WHO report calling for more regulation of the devices.

“I was shocked and surprised when I read it,” Ann McNeill, a researcher at the national addiction center at King’s College London, told reporters at a briefing. “I felt it was an inaccurate portrayal of the evidence on e-cigarettes.”

McNeill said that while e-cigarettes were relatively new and that the totality of their long-term health impacts was not known, it was clear that they were far safer than were tobacco cigarettes, which killed more than six million people a year.

Peter Hajek of the tobacco dependence research unit at Queen Mary University of London, who co-authored the critique, said it was vital that electronic cigarettes should be assessed in relation to the known harms of tobacco cigarettes.

“There are currently two products competing for smokers’ custom,” he said. “One – the conventional cigarette – endangers users and bystanders and recruits new customers from among non-smoking children who try it.

“The other – the e-cigarette – is orders of magnitude safer, poses no risk to bystanders, and generates negligible rates of regular use among non-smoking children who try it.”

Yet the WHO’s recommendations, if implemented, would make it harder to bring electronic cigarettes to market and could discourage smokers from using them, the experts said, putting policymakers and the public in danger of foregoing the public health benefits electronic cigarettes could have.

The full story is at: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/09/04/us-health-ecigarettes-report-idUKKBN0GZ2T420140904

Cigarette price hikes in Korea would cause smokers to quit – by 2020

| September 8, 2014

One in three smokers in South Korea said they would quit if the health ministry caused cigarette prices to be raised as planned, according to a story in the Korea Times quoting the results of a survey released on Friday.

The country’s Health and Welfare Minister, Moon Hyung-pyo, said last week that he hoped to see cigarette prices nearly doubled during the next six years so as to reduce the country’s smoking rate. Moon said prices should be raised from WON2,500 per pack to at least WON3,300 per pack immediately, partly to reflect the general rise in consumer prices, and to WON4,500 by 2020.

Of 1,000 survey participants, 64.5 percent said they would support the price hike, while 35.5 percent said they would not.

Of the smokers surveyed, 70.7 percent said they would object to cigarettes being made more expensive, while 29.3 percent said they would support such a move.

Thirty two point two percent of smokers said they would quit if the price reached WON4,500 won, while 51.6 percent said such a price would not change their habit.

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